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Given that July 4th just passed, kids may not be ready to think about heading back to school, but brands definitely need to. It’s never too early to apply sentiment analysis to be sure you’re prepared. Here’s how.

Be on Time for the First Bell

The back-to-school shopping period may not hit in full force until August, but if you’re going to nail your back-to-school campaign, now is the time to be planning.

Use a tool like NetBase Pro to get a handle on early conversations, trends worth exploring, and other insights to guide you as you craft your messaging.

Here’s a look at Sentiment Attributes, i.e., positive and negative topics being discussed on social. The size of the text indicates the popularity of the topic and intensity of the emotion compared to other subjects.

Let’s look at a few terms popping out.

This is a lot to start with.

Early school supply fund drives make sense, given the challenging nature of fundraising. The more time, the better. Can your brand help, or give back to area drives through your own sales?

Food allergies are a big issue for children in schools, so it’s no surprise they’re part of the conversation. If you’re a food brand, ensuring you offer good options and clear labeling will help. So will making sure parents know about you!

We’ve got two influencers worth investigating: AkronOhioMoms.com and Scary Mommy. The former has 8.5K Twitter followers, and the latter has 500K. Both could deliver some brand awareness if they’re willing to work with you.

Geographically we’re seeing opportunities for engagement in Alexandria, VA; Akron, OH; Fairlawn, OH; and Phoenix, AZ. If you’ve got a store location or audience in this area, you now have a clue about what interests them.

Of course, there’s a lot more to look at.

Emotions and Behaviors help tell the story as well:

Don’t forget to explore negative terms as well. So far there’s nothing standing out in a major way in our Emotions cloud, but knowing what consumers take issue with will help you steer clear.

  • The “expensive nightmare” of school clothing – and issues like bullying that stem from not having designer clothes – is being discussed on a forum called Mumsnet.
  • School-specific supply kits are on offer from Clinton Rosette Middle School in Dekalb IL, for those who “despise” school shopping.
  • A recent high school graduate shares her “freak out” every time she sees a back-to-school ad this early in the season – reminding brands to be careful lest they alienate this segment of their target audience.

Make New Friends

We’ve already seen some influencers popping up in our results, but let’s see what we find in the Influencers card.

Looking at posts for each of these users reveals a variety of angles on the back-to-school conversation. Not all of them will work for every brand, but if there’s a personality that’s a fit, knowing they have a large and engaged audience is what you want in an influencer.

It’s interesting that the posts with the most engagements are all on Instagram. This isn’t unusual, really. Whether or not your audience is there depends on a number of factors, but it’s certainly an important social network in general.

However, in our search overall, Twitter is the social network where the most conversation is happening, followed by forums, news outlets, and then Instagram.

Be Inspired

Something to remember as you conduct your sentiment analysis: #backtoschool isn’t limited to children. There are plenty of stories out there about adults who’ve gone “back to school” to complete their education and change their lives for the better.

Some of these stories are part of the Popular Media – an indication that these sorts of personal stories drive engagement when told via video or images. Again, Instagram is a major channel.

The back-to-school period is one many brands rely on – both to generate revenue, and to prepare their teams for the next biggest shopping period of the year: the holidays.

Look back at your social media audit to see what worked last year, run competitive analysis to be sure you’re in step with the rest of your category, and perform campaign analysis throughout the back-to-school season to make the most of this year’s campaign.

Whatever you do, learn something. Your efforts will always matter if you do.

Want to see our competitor analysis tools in action? Reach out and we’ll show you a customized demo!

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